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Top 50 Songs Of 2016: Part 1

November 28, 2016

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Hey there!  It’s time to start running down my favorite songs and albums (look for this list next week) of the year.  Below you’ll find Part 1 of my Top 50 Songs of 2016 list.  It (and every part that’s coming after today) consists of tracks that I found myself frequently revisiting throughout the year.  Simple!  Enjoy.

PS – One thing is a little different this year – I will not be including any Austin acts in this singles list.  I’m going to be doing a two-part year-ender via 101X Homegrown (my radio show) that will detail my favorite Austin tracks.  Look for Part 1 to air on 12/11, and then Part 2 on 12/18.

PPS – I got a ton of take down notices, so you’ll have to listen via Spotify.

50)  :Sia – Waving Goodbye (Produced by Diplo):  When I saw (and loved) The Neon Demon, I found myself really digging this anthemic number as it blasted over the credits.  Oddly enough, I didn’t even realize it was by Sia until I got home and looked it up.

49)  :Big Baby D.R.A.M. – Cute:  This is such a silly song by D.R.A.M., but it’s so damn catchy that I’ve been unable to escape it for most of 2016.  Just let it take you.

48)  :Polica – Lately:  If you ask me, this is the best song off of Polica’s latest album, United Crushers.  It’s hazy and sparse and the line “seems like we’re too comfortable in love” is a sharp one.

47)  :Father John Misty – Real Love Baby:  Whether you’ve ever fully boarded the Father John Misty hype train or not, it’s hard to deny just how charming this track is on all fronts.

46)  :Pity Sex – Bonhomie:  The boy/girl vocals in this Pity Sex track are so on point.  As is the 90s-lean it carries.  And well, everything else about it.

45)  :Screaming Females – Skeleton:  I sure do love me some Screaming Females.  This track was rightfully cut from 2015′s Rose Mountain, but I’m glad to have it now – it’s unhinged and great.

44)  :LVL UP – Hidden Driver:  You could criticize this LVL UP effort as being too Neutral Milk Hotel-esque, but that would be silly.  It’s just a great song.  Turn it up.

43)  :Forth Wanderers – Slop:  This one from Forth Wanderers has a meandering arrangement and lyrics loaded with obviously-youthful musings – “I love too much/Too hurt this bad” – but I dig it.

42)  :Frightened Rabbit – Death Dream:  I loved Frightened Rabbit, then I veered away, and now this song has brought me back to them.  That’s how stellar it is.

41)  :The Blow – Think About Me:  There’s an early-era Rilo Kiley vibe on display here that I’ve been caught up since I first heard this song.  Thanks for that, The Blow.

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Polica

February 23, 2016

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Polica have let loose a third track (you can check out the previous two in video-form down below) off of their upcoming album, and I’m pretty much obsessed with it and its beautiful, sparsely arranged sound.  If for some reason you’re not currently feeling excited about the band’s impending release, then I believe it’ll get you there.  Enjoy.

:Polica – Lately:

Ultimate Crushers is due out March 4 via Mom + Pop.

Bonus Videos:

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Quickdraw: Wussy, Best Friends, DIIV, Blue Healer, Polica

January 26, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Wussy – Dropping Houses:  In a recent interview with Spin, Wussy’s Lisa Walker referred to this track in part as a “singable wall of noise.”  I second that.  Forever Sounds is due out March 4 via Shake It.

:Best Friends – Wash Me Out:  I wasn’t familiar with Best Friends (phrasing?) until this fuzzy, lo-fi indie rock track arrived in my inbox last week, but now I’m all about them.  The band just released an album, Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane., via FatCat.  This particular song isn’t actually on the LP, but I’m still anxious to dive into it.

:DIIV – Is The Is Are:  The more I hear off of DIIV’s upcoming album, the more I get excited about it.  This track has a driving arrangement that I really like.  Is The Is Are is due out February 5 via Captured Tracks.

:Blue Healer – Luminescent Eyes:  Here’s a slick new pop tune from Blue Healer, an Austin-based act that I’ve grown fond of over the last six months or so.  Expect it to get lodged in your head.  The band will release their debut album later this year.

:Polica – Wedding:  I’ve never really thought of Polica as dark or edgy, but that’s pretty much their approach here both sound-wise and lyrically (the song is about the “symbiotic relationship between the militarization of police in America and the drug trade”).  It works for them.  United Crushers is due out March 4 via Mom + Pop.

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Stream This

June 13, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums come out, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ White Lung – Deep Fantasy

Say Hi – Endless Wonder
Boris – Noise
The Antlers – Familiars
Sam Smith – In The Lonely Hour
Lower – Seek Warmer Climes
Alexis Taylor – Await Barbarians
Cerebral Ballzy – Jaded And Faded
Miniature Tigers – Cruel Runnings
Papertwin – Vox Humana EP
Lone – Reality Testing
Death Has No Dominion – Self Titled
Street Eaters – Blood, Muscles, Bones
DeGreaser – Rougher Squalor
Happyness – Weird Little Birthday

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
JJ

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Quickdraw: Polica, Braid, White Lung, Parquet Courts, Jess Williamson

May 19, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Polica – Raw Exit:  Polica would rather not just shelve Shulamith and move on, so they’ve rallied up a deluxe edition that contains a four-song EP called Raw Exit.  If you ask me, that’s a fairly clever way to remind people one last time that the album is out there.  The band will put out the expanded version of Shulamith on June 10 via Mom+Pop.

:Braid – Bang:  It’s been 16 years since Braid last put out a full length effort, but they seem to still have it.  Granted, that’s my impression after only hearing this emo gem.  I suppose there’s still a fairly good chance the album won’t be worth the wait.  Look for No Coast on July 8 via Topshelf.

:White Lung – Face Down:  For those of you that don’t like it when White Lung appear to be trying to melt your soul, I think you’ll dig this song.  It’s a rather catchy number that isn’t just an all-out assault on your ears.  Deep Fantasy is due out June 17 via Domino.

:Parquet Courts – Instant Disassembly:  There’s a part of me that wanted to cut the other songs in today’s post and only go with this impossibly honest seven-minuter.  I’m just about 100% convinced that it’s the best thing that Parquet Courts have ever churned out.  You can expect to get Sunbathing Animal on June 3 via What’s Your Rupture?/Mom + Pop.

:Jess Williamson – Snake Song:  When it comes to singer/songwriters in Austin, Jess Williamson is one of my favorites.  As you’ll see once you hit play on this song, her voice just has a way of sticking with you.  Jess’ split 7″ with RF Shannon will be released on June 17 via Punctum.

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Stream This

January 24, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Dum Dum Girls – Too True

Jess Williamson – Native State
Hospitality – Trouble
Supreme Cuts – Divine Ecstasy
Snowbird – Moon
Cities Aviv – Come To Life
Johann Johannsson – McCanick
Peggy Sue – Choir Of Echoes
Quilt – Held In Splendor
Doug Tuttle – Self Titled
Morgan Delt – Self Titled

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
EMA

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Top 25 Albums Of 2013: Part 2

December 12, 2013

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Here’s another 10 of my favorite albums of 2013.  Jump back tomorrow for the top five on my list!  Enjoy.

15) Polica – Shulamith

If you’re pessimistic and happen to remember how high my expectations were for Polica’s Shulamith, then you might look at this “middle of the pack” placement and call the album a disappointment.  Believe me though, that would be silly.  Lots of great tracks to be had on this one.

:Polica – Chain My Name:

14) The Mantles – Long Enough To Leave

If I had things my way, everyone would start including the Mantles in the first wave of bands that roll out of their mouth whenever the Bay Area comes up in conversation.  Long Enough To Leave is loaded with very catchy retro pop tunes.

:The Mantles – Hello:

13) The Octopus Project – Fever Forms

The Octopus Project have long been a solid act, but I think Fever Forms is proof that they’re actually a great one.  I’m excited to see where they go from here.

:The Octopus Project – Whitby:

12) Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Only one album in 2013 actually made me want to throw up rock horns in a non-ironic way, and it was Diarrhea Planet’s I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams.  Listen loud.

:Diarrhea Planet – Separations:

11) Haim – Days Are Gone

The girls in Haim have been making music for most of their lives, so of course Days Are Gone is packed with some of 2013′s better crafted pop songs.  On another note, this album is a sing-a-long lovers dream.

:Haim – The Wire:

10) A Giant Dog – Bone

Pop punk is fun stuff, but I usually wear the albums out and then promptly shuffle on to something else.  This didn’t happen with A Giant Dog’s Bone though, the songs are too good to just let go of.

:A Giant Dog – All I Wanted:

09) Kanye West – Yeezus

Kanye West’s Yeezus is such an intense album that I can’t listen to it on a regular basis.  With that being said, I think it’s a stellar piece of work from one of the biggest, most interesting pop stars on the planet.

:Kanye West – New Slaves:

08) Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin

Thee Oh Sees release so much music that I always move on to whatever new thing they’re doing instead of allowing the “old” effort to settle.  Floating Coffin managed to hook me though, and I plan on jamming the gloriously kinetic album for years to come.

:Thee Oh Sees – Maze Francier:

07) FIDLAR – Self Titled

FIDLAR seem like an act that could fizzle out at any moment, so I’ve been loving them while I can.  Their self titled debut is as catchy and loud as I hoped it would be when the band first popped up on my radar last year.

:FIDLAR – Cheap Beer:

06) Sigur Ros – Kveikur

I didn’t think Sigur Ros had a bombastic post rock album in them at this point, but Kveikur is just that.  If their last few efforts were too far out in left field for you, then this one should win you back.

:Sigur Ros – Kveikur:

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Top 50 Songs Of 2013: Part 4

December 5, 2013

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We’re now down to the final 20 songs!  Ah!  Enjoy.

20)  :Minks – Margot:  I know some folks weren’t a fan of Minks cleaning up their sound, but I thought it was an alright move.  This song in particular is great and reminds me of early 2000s indie pop.  From Tides End.

19)  :Okkervil River – It Was My Season:  As I said when this made my Austin Essentials list, it’s that one song Okkervil River seem to have on every album that I can’t get enough of.  From The Silver Gymnasium.

18)  :Parquet Courts – You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now:  To be honest, I totally didn’t get all the love for Parquet Courts until this song came along.  I appreciate its adequate amount of snarl.  From the Tally All The Things That You Broke EP.

17)  :A Giant Dog – All I Wanted:  Austin’s finest pop punk band is A Giant Dog, and I think this is their best song.  It rocks and does well to show off Sabrina Ellis’ stellar voice.  From Bone.

16)  :Wavves – Demon To Lean On:  I didn’t at all think Wavves would ever turn into a 90s-esque alt-rock band, but here they are doing it and doing it well.  I approve.  From Afraid Of Heights.

15)  :White Denim – At Night In Dreams:  The heaviest song on White Denim’s 2013 effort is also my favorite from it.  I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to blow out my speakers via this track.  From Corsicana Lemonade.

14)  :Swearin’ – Watered Down:  I love any sort of indie rock that feels lifted out of the 90s, so I was hooked on this pretty much immediately.  Be warned, Swearin’ will make you want to dig up tons of old records.    From Surfing Strange.

13)  :Four Fists – MMMMMHMMMMM:  POS and Astronautalis as one act?  Yes.  Forever.  If we’re lucky, this rad track is just the beginning of something awesome.  From Four Fists’ self titled 7″ single.

12)  :Polica – Chain My Name:  Earlier this year I couldn’t wait to get a hold of Polica’s sophomore effort, and it was largely because of this track.  It’s super dancey and completely set on never leaving your head.  From Shulamith.

11)  :Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardener:  This wordy number from Courtney Barnett was a favorite of mine before I was even done listening to it for the first time.  She’s a fantastic storyteller.  From the A Sea Of Split Peas EP.

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Stream This

October 18, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Polica – Shulamith
Marijuana Deathsquads – Oh My Sexy Lord
Ryan Hemsworth – Guilt Trips
Ducktails – Wish Hotel
Dead Gaze – Brain Holiday
MO – Bikini Daze
Best Coast – Fade Away EP
Paul McCartney – New
Crystal Antlers – Nothing Is Real
Black Hearted Brother – Stars Are Our Home
JD Samson And Men – Labor
Crooks On Tape – Fingerprints
Tristen – Caves
Active Child – Rapor EP
Dosh – Milk Money
We Are Scientists – Business Casual EP
Anoraak – Chronotropic
Lynx – Light Up Your Lantern
Tancred – Self Titled

VIDEOS

Yum’s Take My Blue is out now.  They play Spider House Ballroom tonight.

Neiliyo just released the Grow’n Up EP.

Featherface will release the Ourselves Together/The Cosmic Draw 7″ on October 26.

Crystal Antlers just put out Nothing Is Real via Innovative Leisure.  They play the Mohawk on October 19.

Mike Donovan’s Wot is out now on Drag City.

Dismemberment Plan just released Uncanney Valley.  They play Fun Fun Fun Fest next month.

Aloa Input will release Anysome on November 5 via Morr Music.

School Of Night just put out a self titled EP on Transgressive Records.

Atoms For Peace’s Amok is available now.

Pink Frost’s Sundowning is out now.

Grails just put out Black Tar Prophecies Vol’s 4, 5 & 6 this week on Temporary Residence, LTD.

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Stream This

October 11, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Mirror Travel – Mexico
Pelican – Forever Becoming
Black Milk – No Poison No Paradise
The Men – Campfire Songs
Kwes – Ilp
Avett Brothers – Magpie And The Dandelion
Dismemberment Plan – Uncanney Valley
Red Fang – Whales And Leeches
Cults – Static
Cass McCombs – Big Wheel And Others
Boldy James – My 1st Chemistry Set
Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt
Happy Jawbone Family Band – Self Titled
Lucius – Wildewoman
Tim Hecker – Virgins
Carnivores – Second Impulse
Luke Temple – Good Mood Fool
Dean Wareham – Emancipated Hearts
Morcheeba – Head Up High
School Of Night – Self Titled EP
Wymond Miles – Cut Yourself Free
Grails – Black Tar Prophecies, Vol’s 4, 5, & 6
His Clancyness – Vicious
Swiiim – Cellophane Castle

VIDEOS

Love Inks’ Generation Club is out now on Monofonus.

Parquet Courts’ Tally All The Things That You Broke EP was released this week via What’s Your Rupture?.

Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings will release Give The People What They Want on January 14 via Daptone.

Black Milk will release No Poison No Paradise on October 15.

Camera Obscura’s Desire Lines is out now on 4AD.

Grooms recently put out Infinity Caller on Western Vinyl.

The Callas will release Am I Vertical? on November 19 via Inner Ear.

The Blow recently released a self titled album on Kanine.  They play Red 7 on November 2.

Rubblebucket’s Save Charlie EP is out now on Communion.

Joanna Gruesome’s Weird Sister is out now on Slumberland.

Infinity Shred’s Sanctuary is available now.

Polica will release Shulamith on October 22 via Mom + Pop.

Of Montreal’s Lousy With Sylvianbriar is out now on Polyvinyl.

T. Hardy Morris’ Audition Tapes is out now on Dangerbird Records.

Nightland’s Oak Island is out now on Secretly Canadian.  They play the Mohawk on December 3.

Pure Bathing Culture’s Moon Tides is available now via Partisan.

Deap Vally just released Sistrionix this week via Cherrytree/Communion/Interscope/Island.

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Quickdraw: Terry Malts, The Coathangers, Phantogram, CFCF, Polica

September 30, 2013

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Today’s music believes in you.  Enjoy.

:Terry Malts – I Could Be Happy (Altered Images Cover):  I’m in the midst of Terry Malts-heavy stretch, and I love it.  Just law week they played a really nice show at the Mohawk, and now they’ve released this super catchy cover.  You might be able to get this track as a bonus if you jump now and order Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere, which is currently available on Slumberland.

:The Coathangers – Adderall:  This is one of the more impressive tracks that the Coathangers have ever delivered.  I really love the enormous amount of attitude packed into it.  The band’s split 7″ (with Audacity) is due out October 15 via Suicide Squeeze Records.  They play Red 7 on October 16.

:Phantogram – Celebrating Nothing:  While I would have preferred a new Phantogram full length this year, I’ll take an EP.  It does, after all, include this stellar song.  You can actually grab their self titled EP now via Barsuk.  See them at the Mohawk on October 27 (the 10/26 show is already sold out).

:CFCF – Beyond Light:  Grab some headphones before you hit play on this new track from CFCF, as it is intricate and totally deserving of all of your attention.  The world will be able to dive into Outsider when it’s released on October 21 via Dummy Records.

:Polica – Smug:  I’d be lying if I said this sultry number didn’t immediately vault Polica’s upcoming full length to somewhere near the top of my “most anticipated releases” list.  Shulamith is due out October 21 via Memphis Industries.

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Quickdraw: Dismemberment Plan, Polica, Of Montreal, Yawn, Courtney Barnett

August 26, 2013

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Today’s music believes that knowing is half the battle.  Enjoy.

:Dismemberment Plan – Invisible:  I didn’t so much care for the Dismemberment Plan’s first new song in 12 years, but I’m digging this second single and its inspired indie rock ways.  Uncanny Valley is due October 15 via Partisan Records.  See the band at Fun Fun Fun Fest in November.

:Polica – Chain My Name:  This track has totally owned me over the last few days, and I’m not sure when I’ll tire of awkward attempting to dance to it.  Polica will release  Shulamith on October 22 via Mom + Pop.  Catch them at Emo’s East on November 15.

:Of Montreal – She Ain’t Speaking Now:  The upcoming Of Montreal album is really starting to look like it’s going to be a straight up indie rock-oriented effort, and that is fine by me.  Lousy With Sylvianbriar is due October 8 via Polyvinyl.  See the band at the Mohawk on November 15.

:Yawn – Summer Heat:  I figured Yawn were a new act, but apparently they had a well received LP back in 2011.  Is any of it as refreshing as this song?  If so, I need to seek it out.  The band is currently in the midst of putting together their sophomore effort.

:Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardener:  This song is definitely overly wordy, but Courtney Barnett’s voice has such a classic sound that she’s able makes it work.  I’m definitely interested in checking out The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas whenever it’s released via House Anxiety/Marathon Artists/Milk.

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Stream This

June 14, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

The Mantles – Long Enough To Leave
Hospital Ships – Destruction In Yr Soul
High On Fire – Spitting Fire
Quasimoto – Yessir Whatever
Melt Yourself Down – Self Titled
Sigur Ros – Kveikur
Empire Of The Sun – Ice On The Dune
Action Bronson And Harry Fraud – Saaab Stories
Lemuria – The Distance Is So Big
Austra – Olympia
Vacation – Candy Waves
Beach Day – Trip Trap Attack
Heliotropes – A Constant Sea

VIDEOS

Polica will put out Shulamith out later this year on Mom + Pop Records.

Hebronix will release Unreal on July 9 via ATP Recordings.

Pure X recently put out Crawling Up The Stairs on Acephale.

Boyfrndz will release Natures on July 16.

Young Galaxy’s Ultramarine is out now.

Hooded Fang’s Gravez is available now.

Mum will release Smilewound on September 17 via Morr Music.

The Uncluded recently released Hokey Fright on Rhymesayers.

Blue Hawaii’s Untogether is out now on Airbus Records.

Water Liars’ Wyoming is out now.

Sombear will put out Love You In The Dark on July 23 via Trans-Records.

Quilt have a 10″ split with MMOSS titled New Hampshire Freaks that’s out now.

Dungeonesse’s self titled album is out now.

Kisses’ Kids In LA is out now.

Black Sabbath recently released 13.  They play the Frank Erwin Center on July 27.

Angel Haze recently put out the No Bueno single.

Maps And Atlases’ Beware And Be Grateful is available now.

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Quickdraw: Minus The Bear, Hooded Fang, King Tuff, Polica, Double Dagger

April 16, 2013

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Hey!  I’m off to Vegas for a few days.  Go outside and play while the site goes on mini-break.  We’ll back to posting on Sunday.  Enjoy.

:Minus The Bear – Walk On Air:  There’s a new video game out called Injustice: Gods Among Us, and this song is off of its soundtrack.  I think it’s a pretty fun slice of modern rock.  The soundtrack, which also features The Faint, Depeche Mode, and a lot more, is available now.

:Hooded Fang – Graves:  Because time off is for losers, this Chicago-based act has already put together a follow-up to last year’s Tosta Mista.  Expect to be impressed by this pop rock number.  The band will release Gravez on May 28 through Full Time Hobby.

:King Tuff – Dancing On You:  The glorious King Tuff has finally settled when the reissue of 2008′s Was Dead will come out, and it will be May 28 via Burger Records.  This upbeat (and kind of freeing) track is what opens the album.  You should pick up a copy when it gets released.

:Polica – Tiff (Featuring Justin Vernon):  If you’ve been waiting for Polica to deliver something that’s undeniably impressive, then this slinky song is it.  I can’t take it off repeat.  The Tiff single is out on Mom + Pop now, and a full length is expected at some point in the fall.

:Double Dagger – Heretic’s Hymn:  This band broke up a couple of years ago, but their last album is just now getting released.  Bummer.  Experiencing this meaty beast of a track live would have been so rad.  333 is due out on April 20 via Thrill Jockey.

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